A group of cable operators has signed a deal with
that may ultimately eliminate the need for the ubiquitous set-top box.
Sony said it plans to produce plug-and-play "two-way" digital televisions and other devices that can receive interactive digital and high-definition video services without a set-top box, a move that's aimed at simplifying cable installation and reducing costs.
Time Warner Cable
, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks are among the companies entering the agreement with Sony. In total, those six cable operators serve more than 82% of all U.S. cable subscribers.
"This is a landmark agreement which will provide a national, open and interactive platform resulting in more choices of services and products for consumers," said Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Shares of Sony were off nearly 1% at $47.58. All four publicly-traded cable providers were higher.
Satellite television operators were mixed.
was losing 0.3%, while
was tacking on 0.1%
Set-top box manufacturers were trading higher despite the announcement.
, which owns the Scientific-Atlanta brand, was up 1.4%.
was adding 0.7%.